An Attempt To Explain ‘What I Do’

Random uncle meeting after 7 years. Let’s call him RU

RU: Where are you these days? Delhi or Gurgaon?
Me: Indore!
RU: Indore?? Wahan kya hai?
Me: I’m working there, with an NGO
RU: Haan tumhari mummy ne kuch bataya to tha. We thought you must be traveling twice or thrice a month from Delhi itself. So, you live in Indore now, is it?
Me: Yea, it’s full-time actually. I left Delhi 5 months back.
RU: Chalo acha hai. Paise dete hain NGO wale?

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Me: Haan kharcha nikal jata hai. Not doing it for money, you know!
RU: Haan paise to tumhare papa ke paas bhi bohot hain. Sahi hai. Glad you’re taking a break from the hectic life. Zyada kaam bhi nahi hota hoga.
Me: Hota hai. Achcha khaasa. It’s not exactly a break.
RU: Fir bhi. You must have gotten leaves easily, to come home this time, as compared to the previous job.
Me: It’s the opposite actually. Getting 6 days off hasn’t been tougher.
RU: Achaaa. They must be really strict then. What’s the work like? Karti kya ho tum?
Me: Ummm…I don’t know if you’ll get it.
RU: Tum bachcho ne to hum logo ko nalayak samajh rakha hai, kyun? I’m a lawyer after all. Bohot duniya dekhi hai. Bohot cases deal kiye hain adaalat mein.
Me: Ok. So, we work with women in rural areas of Madhya Pradesh.
RU: Theek se batao, saaf hindi mein.
Me: Main kuch time Indore mein rehti hu office work ke liye aur baaki time Harda mein. Gaon ki Mahilaon ke samooh banwakar unse bachat ke baare mein baat karte hain…
RU: Haan haan samajh gaya main. Wo micro finance company wala kaam? No one has been able to uplift women yet. Tum kya kar logi?
Me: See I told you’ll not get it. Faltu sawaal-jawab karna hai bas. Moral of the story bologe ye ladki time barbad kar rahi hai bachche paida karne ki umar mein.
RU: Haha…tum to naraaz ho gayi..Haha. Papa pe gayi ho bilkul. I was kidding…Haha
Me: I didn’t get the joke then. Happy? Just stay away for the next few days please, will you! Enjoy the food.
RU: Arre beta. Khushi ka mahaul hai. Forgive and forget, eh?

Another random uncle interrupts who I don’t even remember when I met last. Let’s call him SU for now.

SU to RU: Ye ladki khatarnaak hai maine suna hai. Dooor hi raho isse.
SU to me: Yesterday also you were arguing with someone about Jio sim, no? Anyway, what’s the name of this NGO?
Me: You may not have heard. It’s called Chaitanya.
SU: Oh! They are doing some brilliant work in Maharashtra, I guess?
Me: <<Insert wide-eyed with a grin emoticon>> Yeahh. How do you know? Oh right, you live in Pune. They have their head-office there.
SU: Haan. Bohot naam hai wahan unka. I’ve heard a lot of appreciative stories. Do you visit often? Meet us next time!
Me: No, I haven’t visited yet. They opened a new office in Indore and are now working in M.P. too. The communities in Maharashtra are almost self-sustainable now.
SU: Wow! That’s great. That’s how it should be. To guide them to be on their own! Glad to know you’re doing something different.
Me: Ya, that’s the plan for M.P. too. Long way to go though. We have just begun.
SU: Chalo, let me know if you want me to connect you with anyone, in future. I may not know much but I know a lot of people who know a lot of things. I can show you the way, to help you whenever you need. Keep up the good work!
Me: Thanks a lot. Enjoy the food.

Swati Saxena

2016 fellow, placed with Chaitanya in Harda, MP as part of her fellowship. Working on financial inclusion of women self help groups and designing e-learning content on federations. Ex-accountant. Love paper crafts. Can walk miles for great coffee!